Up to one in three children have pain in their limbs, usually the legs, which does not seem to have any physical cause. Usually this pain comes for a few nights and goes goes away for a while, then may come back. The pain can be quite mild or bad enough to upset the child's sleep.
Any pain which does not go away, or where there is swelling or tenderness, or the child feels unwell, has a fever or any difficulty in movement, such as a limp, should be checked by a doctor. There is a danger that a serious cause may be overlooked if pain is just thought to be growing pains.
- The pain is often described as an ache, but can be severe enough to wake children from sleep.
- The pain often comes in both legs whereas pain that is caused by an underlying physical problem is more likely to be in one limb.
- Growing pains usually come in the evening or at night and are usually gone in the morning. They may happen for 3 or 4 nights, then not again for a month or so.
- There may also be feelings of restlessness.
- Growing pains do not affect movement or general health, do not cause swelling and do not cause the legs to be sore to touch.
- A doctor is not able to find any health problems.
Better Health Channel
Raising Children Network
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.